Before my family and friends panic thinking I’m writing about them, let me just say most of you can calm down. While I may be writing about you, there is only one person that I’m going to name today. The person I’m naming is a long time friend, warm, caring, soft spoken, just beautiful inside and out. If that description doesn’t fit, you can relax, but if it does and your name is Denise; buckle up, put on your listening ears and hear me loud and clear.
I hope all of you have had the privilege of having a “Denise” in your life at some point. I was a single mom, not many months out of an abusive marriage when I met my Denise. I had just given birth to my second child and found myself living in yet another new place. This, not so quaint new community was called Silver Meadows. I soon learned that it was better known as Silver Ghettos. It was certainly misnamed. There were a lot more copper pennies than silver to be found here. I was surrounded by loud neighbors, criminal activity, police sirens and more abuse happening within the walls of those who lived around me than what I had ever known.
I did discover that my new ghetto had a silver lining though. Her name was Denise. I lived in a third floor apartment and she lived on the bottom floor. We both had little boys the same age. They quickly became buddies and played together while we had our morning, afternoon and evening coffee or shared a meal. Thankfully, she loved babies and she would rock my baby girl, giving me a little break from the stress of an often crying, colicky baby. I didn’t have a car back then, well not one that you could drive. It did take up a parking space, but that’s about the only thing it could do. Denise would take me grocery shopping or to doctor appointments for the kids when I needed. Needless to say, Denise and I spent a lot of time together.
Over time both of our situations changed. Denise and I both found ourselves moving to new places and into new relationships. I moved out of state and remarried but that didn’t last long. After a short blip in the screen of life, I was back in my home state and on my own once again with my two kids. Denise had married, as well, but she was still there for me. I worked a lot of hours, but always found myself at her house on my day off. She had a daughter by now, so both of my kids had a friend at her house. Denise was my rock. We would talk about everything. She kept me sane and grounded with her wise words of advice. She was the friend who had my back. I don’t know what I would have done without her. Her husband was also gracious about me hanging around for a whole day at a time. He was a stylist, so he cut my hair when I needed and he did my car repairs or showed me how to do my own, which saved me a lot of money. He taught me how to do tune ups and even how to work on my brakes. It was empowering for me as a single mom to know that there were things I could do myself. I needed that.
Denise and I lost contact for many years, but thanks to facebook we’ve been able to reconnect. A lot of life passed under our feet during that time and many of those years weren’t kind to my friend, yet I’ve seen her be strong and rise above the hard stuff. She’s still a rock, and I want her to know that. She is still that light that was shining for me on the dark paths I walked back then and I never want her to forget that. She still supports me, encourages me and I know she still has my back.
This morning as I was journaling, I was remembering Denise, as well as several other friends like her who have been there for me during tough times. I’m so grateful for relationships like the one we share. You know what I mean. Who is your “Denise”? It’s fitting during this Thanksgiving season to celebrate those who have stood by us, supported and encouraged us through thick and thin, therefore I proclaim this day to be “Thank your Denise Day”, so get out there and just do it! Thank you to Denise and all of my other friends who support and encourage me. You make my world a happier place to be! <3